Thursday, January 22, 2015

Over Night Soaking has Creeks Flowing

Stage II Alarm Drought
Lovelady monitor well: 475.85 ft-msl
Barton Springs discharge: 68 cfs 10-day average

The rain that started yesterday afternoon and fell steadily through much of last night and today has generated substantial runoff and as result, all of the area creeks are flowing. The catchment areas for the creeks responsible for much of the recharge to the Barton Springs Segment of the Aquifer, that is Onion, Bear, Slaughter, Williamson, and Barton creeks, received between about 2 to 3.5 inches over the last 24 hours, and forecasts place the chance of rain tomorrow upwards of 70%. Preceding this rain event, soils already had a high moisture content, thus conditions were prime for generation of runoff. Groundwater levels, for their part, have been on the rise since November and this rain will certainly help continue that trend, possibly even bringing water levels above the drought threshold of 478.4 ft above sea level over the course of the coming days or weeks, but that remains to be seen. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

NWS: 2014 Cooler, Wetter than Average

Stage II Alarm Drought
Lovelady monitor well: 474.4 ft-msl
Barton Springs discharge: 67 cfs 10-day average

The National Weather Service put out their climate summary for the year 2014 in central Texas based on observations at Austin's Camp Mabry. According to the summary, Camp Mabry received 1.21 inches more rain for the year than the normal 34.22 inches and experienced temperatures 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than average. The temporal and spatial distribution of precipitation events that were able to produce groundwater recharge, caused groundwater levels to vacillate up and down, while generally exhibiting a descending trend for much of the year (see figure). Since early November 2014 groundwater levels have been on the rise and it remains to be seen whether they will rise above the Stage II Alarm threshold without more recharge. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Groundwater Levels Continue Fluctuating

Stage II Alarm Drought
Lovelady Monitor Well: 472.99 ft-msl
Barton Springs: 55 cfs 10-day average

The timing and magnitude of the rains over the fall and winter months have led to a continuation of odd water level oscillations that have characterized the Lovelady monitor well hydrograph over the past year (see Image). Since big rains at the end of November (the District office received over 4 inches over the course of 2 days) groundwater levels have been rising but appear to be tapering off. Currently, conditions are good for the rains predicted for this weekend to generate runoff in the creeks that flow over the recharge zone. Barton Creek is the only area creek that is presently flowing at a substantial rate, but if the rain causes flow in the other creeks it may boost water levels in the aquifer.